If we’re honest, we’re all hungry. We’re starving for something to sustain us, to preserve our hope, to strengthen us through trials, to help us conquer sin. We’re starving for food that will fill us for the everyday fight of faith.
But what does the fight look like? And how do we find the food we need?
Our aim is to be with God and like God, to “become partakers of the divine nature” (1:4). Peter wants us to enjoy greater and greater fellowship and intimacy with God by becoming like him, by growing in godliness. We enjoy more life by being more like God, who is Life.
If we’re not careful, we easily slip into other aims that will rob us of life, aims that promise much and ultimately deliver very little — selfish gain, lustful thoughts, godless obsessions, excessive consumption, restless laziness. These aims may be easy and temporarily pleasing, but they only leave us hungrier. What our souls need is God.
If you’re believing in Jesus, forgiven and rescued from your sin, you are and will be still imperfect and broken. Our new aim in this new life is not perfection, as if that could earn us a place in heaven. Our aim is to live lives that are more and more pleasing to the Lord we love, and, by doing so, to experience more and more life and joy in him.
So if that’s our aim, what’s in our way? In order to be like God, we must escape “the corruption of sinful desire” (1:4). Our greatest obstacle to enjoying more of God is our own corrupt desires. They’re striving to starve our hungry souls and leave us begging for scraps along the highway of eternity. God knows better, and he offers us better.
The reality is I will suffer in this life, people will sin against me, and the devil lies in secret plotting to steal my hope and faith. But my greatest adversary is not suffering, sinners, or Satan. It’s me –– the lingering sin yet in my heart.
If we want to know God, be like him, be with him, we must be continually rescued from our sin in this life. For lovers of Jesus, this war has already been decided, and we’re now working out our victory every day until Jesus returns and ends the war once for all.
Jesus did the decisive work once for all on the cross, but we have a role to play. We have real choices to make. We must take steps to confront this enemy within us and be killing him.
The death of my sin sounds really sweet, until of course I try to kill it. Our greatest adversary, sin, is also our greatest handicap. It’s perfectly positioned to undermine the great aim of our new life. Praise God he doesn’t stake the battle on our ability. “His divine powerhas granted to us all things that pertain to life and godliness…”
The way to enjoy more of God is to live like him. And the power to live like him is not yours, but his. We find sure help in God’s hands, in his power — the power that formed mountains, that dug rivers, that lights stars, and breathes life into bears, sharks, and bald eagles; the power that establishes the universe, governs the nations, and judges all people. When you live by that power, you lack nothing on the road to godliness.
God “has granted to us his precious and very great promises, so that through them you may become partakers of the divine nature” (1:4). The ammunition for our daily battles are God’s promises — specific, blood-bought promises. This is the feast. When your hungry soul groans, this is what it wants. These promises are specific. You can find them, understand them, memorize them, and share them.
When we’re physically hungry, we don’t just talk about what food is. We find real food — a turkey sandwich on wheat, a Wendy’s cheeseburger with chili, a grilled chicken salad, some trail mix, or a Cliff bar. The idea of food does nothing for our hunger if we don’t identity something specific and edible and put it in our mouth.
The same applies to God’s promises. We don’t win battles over sin, suffering, and Satan by just acknowledging we need promises. No! What are they? How do they keep me from sinning or despairing or doubting? If promises are going to fulfill their God-given purpose, we have to know them, rehearse them, and voice them to one another. Promises like these:
We all are being transformed into the image [of Christ]. (2 Corinthians 3:18)[God] will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore. (Revelation 21:4)He who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ. (Philippians 1:6)
At least as often as your stomach gets hungry, your heart and soul get hungry. Look for God’s promises when you read the Bible, specific promises, and feed your hungry soul. Eat them. Eat them every day and throughout the day. Eat full meals. Eat snacks. Eat planned meals. Eat spontaneously.
And as you do, you will become more like God. And as you become more like him, you will experience more of the abundant life he has given you and less of the sin from which he has rescued you.